Google on Thursday announced Bulletin, its latest online service meant to support local news which comes in the form of an Android app. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant said Bulletin places a large focus on "hyperlocal" news from one's community, being designed to highlight and disseminate stories that its users deem underreported. The app is entirely free to use and its experimental version doesn't include any advertisements or other direct monetization mechanisms. Google is presently offering Bulletin as part of a pilot test running in Oakland, California, and Nashville, Tennessee. Anyone interested in trying the service can apply for early access by referring to the banner below but people located outside of the two currently supported cities shouldn't expect to have their applications granted before spring when Bulletin's availability is likely to expand to other parts of the world.
The service appears to have been designed with a strong focus on the United States and it's currently unclear whether Google intends to eventually optimize it for an international audience. While the company has yet to provide many details on the app, it appears that Bulletin is somewhat reminiscent of the Beme platform CNN decided to shut down earlier this week as it also attempts to promote citizen journalism, albeit it does so with a local focus. Google says that everything you need to create a Bulletin story is a smartphone which you'll use to photograph your subject and write up a short description of the events that took place or are presently developing. Video content is also supported by the solution, with the entire package essentially being a blogging platform, but one backed by one of the largest content distributors on the planet. Alphabet's subsidiary claims that popular Bulletin stories will be prominently featured on Google Search, in addition to being suitable for sharing through other means such as email, messaging apps, and social media. The company is likely to be curating all content created and shared through Bulletin given its recent issues with combating the dissemination of the so-called "fake news."
Since the app is advertised as a tool intended to help you become "the voice of your community," it appears Google doesn't intend to provide its users with monetization opportunities, at least not for the time being. No firm windows for a wider release of Bulletin have yet been given by the Internet giant, with the only published depiction of the app itself being the one that can be seen below.